- Number 455 |
- December 28, 2015
An ultra-high-resolution technique used for the first time to study polymer fibers that trap uranium in seawater may cause researchers to rethink the best methods to harvest this potential fuel for nuclear reactors.
The work of a team led by Carter Abney, a Wigner Fellow at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, shows that the polymeric adsorbent materials that bind uranium behave nothing like scientists had believed. The results, gained through collaboration with the University of Chicago and detailed in a paper published in Energy & Environmental Science, highlight data made possible with X-ray Absorption Fine Structure spectroscopy performed at the Advanced Photon Source. The APS is a DOE Office of Science User Facility at Argonne National Laboratory.
Physicists at DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) are proposing a new way to process nuclear waste that uses a plasma-based centrifuge. Known as plasma mass filtering, the new mass separation techniques would supplement chemical techniques. It is hoped that this combined approach would reduce both the cost of nuclear waste disposal and the amount of byproducts produced during the process.This work was supported by PPPL's Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program.
"The safe disposal of nuclear waste is a colossal problem," said Renaud Gueroult, staff physicist at PPPL and lead author of the paper that appeared in the Journal of Hazardous Materials in October. "One solution might be to supplement existing chemical separation techniques with plasma separation techniques, which could be economically attractive, ideally leading to a reevaluation of how nuclear waste is processed."
Government agencies, along with state and local governments, could receive a helping hand from a computer network security tool developed by computer scientists and engineers at DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The LLNL software-based technology, known as the Network Mapping System (NeMS), has been licensed to Cambridge Global Advisors (link is external), a Washington, D.C.-area strategic advisory firm.
“We developed this capability to discover and characterize computer networks,” said Celeste Matarazzo, a principal investigator for cybersecurity in the Lab’s Global Security Principal Directorate. “It is important to know what you have on your networks, so that you can decide what best practices to apply.”
The newest addition to DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is an experimental environmental chamber capable of making its occupants shiver or sweat.
Designed to reveal the connection between human comfort and energy systems, the Comfort Suite (C-Suite) stands 10 feet tall and 16 feet wide by 16 feet deep, and allows for a wide range of environmental conditions. The interior is teeming with banks of sensors that provide data about everything from the current concentration of carbon dioxide within the room, to a real-time three-dimensional map of all occupants' body positions. Researchers can simulate a range of environments that will allow different technologies to be evaluated and optimized.